The 2010 Renegade Wine Co. Columbia Valley Red (their motto: Glasses? We don’t need no stinking glasses!) is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 1% Malbec sourced from vineyards in the Columbia Valley AVA of Washington. If at least 75% of a wine is made up from one grape varietal (here 80% is Cabernet Sauvignon) you can legally label the bottle as that grape, but they decided to just go with Red Wine. The Renegade Wine Co. is the entry level label for Sleight of Hand Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington. This wines are made with purchased grapes and were fermented, aged and bottled in Mattawa, Washington, which is located in the Wahluke Slope AVA. The Renegade wines have been something of cult wine in the Washington area, selling out within a few months of release. In the past the blend seemed to change every year and with the 2010 vintage they finally made enough to be distributed around the country and stay on store shelves for a while. They do not provide any information on the aging of this wine, but they do say that the 2010 vintage can be cellared for a few years. The alcohol content is 13.8%.
The color is a rich, dark burgundy, with black highlights. The nose is raspberry, cherry fruit roll-ups, oak spice, herbs, muted Altoids spice and a little new mown lawn. Silky smooth, with lush dark fruit and little bit of a rough edge. It tastes of just picked black and blueberries, ripe plums, a hint of dark chocolate and tart cranberry. The mid palate shows strawberries in cream and some not sweet Dr. Pepper. The tannins are soft and do not intrude, the acidity is strong, but balanced, you do not usually get lip smacking acidity in a Cabernet Sauvignon. The finish is full and lengthy.
The 2011 Renegade Wine Co. Red is a really solid taste of Columbia Valley. It has the lush fruit, the fine tannins and the balance that are the trademark of Washington State Red wines. The Renegade Red lists for $10 and I would imagine gets more expensive as you go east. This is one of those wines, that if you sampled it in a blind tasting, you would never guess its price.